Firefall studio shutting down beta, canceling E3 trip in SOPA protest

Red 5 Studios closing trial and website for upcoming free-to-play shooter for 24 hours, scuttles plans to attend ESA-backed E3 2012 in stand against what it calls "misguided" legislation.

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In the past week, Epic Games, Runic Games, and Riot Games have publicly denounced the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Now, Firefall developer Red 5 Studios has joined the list of dissenters, but the studio isn't limiting its stance to words alone.

Speaking to the GameFly-owned Shacknews recently, Red 5 Studios' CEO Mark Kern revealed that the developer will shut down the ongoing beta for its free-to-play shooter Firefall, as well as its website, on January 18 for 24 hours in protest of SOPA. Red 5 Studios will join social news website Reddit in closing its operation on that day to demonstrate disapproval of the legislation.

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Red 5 Studios' stance against SOPA does not end there. Kern noted that Red 5 Studios has canceled its plans to attend the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo, which is put on by the Entertainment Software Association, a group that openly supports SOPA.

"We will not attend E3 unless ESA reverses their stance," Kern told Shacknews. The CEO called SOPA "misguided legislation" and said the studio is "ashamed" of the ESA for pledging its support to the controversial measure.

"This bill, and its sister bill, Protect IP, will shut down live streaming, shout casting, user-generated content, and have a chilling effect on game innovation and social media," he told Shacknews. "Most of all, it hurts the smaller game companies, who will not have the legal resources or lobbying presence to protect themselves from unwarranted shutdown. We issue a call to all our industry peers, including developers, publishers and game press, to join us in letting the ESA know they do not represent our views on this issue, and strongly oppose SOPA and PIPA."

Companies that support the bill--including the National Football League and GameSpot parent company CBS--argue that it offers necessary protection to content creators. Opponents of the bill, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, argue that SOPA infringes upon First Amendment rights and will ultimately deprive the Internet of non-infringing content.

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